Hawkins' 29 carries SAGU to 74-63 win over King

SAGU plays Friday night at 6pm (CST) vs NY's Roberts Wesleyan

WINONA LAKE, Indiana -- Legend has it that the Phoenix, a mythical bird with a fiery spirit had a colorful plumage of gold and purple. At the end of its life-cycle it burned fiercely inside its nest. Reduced only to ashes, the Phoenix arose, reborn anew to live again.

On Thursday afternoon there was a new bird on fire. Stephanie Hawkins. The senior guard from DeSoto, Texas was en fuego! But this story is true, and when she caught fire, she burned King College with a 29-point barrage. Her exploits led Southwestern Assemblies of God University to a 74-63 triumph in which they led from start to finish at the NCCAA Nationals.

The Lady Lions jumped to an 8-0 lead on two quick Heather Jefferson (Conroe, Tx / Conroe HS) baskets, one following a steal by Gabby Bruner (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS), and Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS) scored a second-chance layup.

Hawkins didn't register a single basket for the first ten minutes of the game. Her fuse was lit on a driving layup at the 10:11 mark, giving SAGU a 13-7 lead. Moments later she torched the Lady Tornado with a pull-up three-ball and a pace-setting 16-7 advantage.

King, from Bristol, Tennessee, made several runs in the game, though they never drew closer than six points the rest of the way. Each surge was countered by one from the Lady Lions, who led by as many as 13 in the first half and 19 in the second stanza.

Southwestern, now 22-12 on the season, advances to Friday's semi-finals of the National Christian College Athletic Association tourney. They will meet Roberts Wesleyan College, 20-11, at 7pm local time (EST) for a chance to play for the national championship at 5pm on Saturday. The Raiders topped the host Grace College Lady lancers in overtime, 67-60, on Thursday night.

NOTE: Friday's game it set to begin at 6pm (CST).

Rodriguez said following the game that the Lady Lions played like a team. "We played like we know how," she added. Melissa Giles (Leander, Tx / Summit Christian), with a season under her belt, pointed out that her teammates "...played SAGU basketball."

Playing SAGU Basketball

That means they played a quick 2-3 zone defense that befuddled the Tornado. Switching to a 1-3-1 zone and adding effective traps, the Lady Lions effectively limited passing lanes inside, forcing King to shoot from beyond. It worked to near perfection. SAGU held the Twisters to 31% shooting for the game, including just 27% after intermission.

The Tornados connected on only 6-of-27 three-point attempts (22%), though they did make five in the second frame to keep them within striking distance. King was good on 19-of-22 free throws, but 20 turnovers were costly.

The area that revealed how focused the top-seeded Lady Lions were on Thursday was their 35-31 edge in rebounds. King, clearly taller and deeper, usually owns the boards. Normally on the short end, SAGU appeared hungrier and fresher in spite of having four starters strapped with four fouls apiece during the final nine minutes.

Big Second Half Plays Stave off the Tornado

With the Tornado churning to within 43-37 on a trey by Jessica Tharpe, momentum was teetering towards the Blue Storm.

"We needed something to help us breakaway," chimed Rachel Harris (Joshua, Tx / Bethesda Christian). "They kept making runs and we needed a big shot."

Enter: Harris.

Hawkins hit her with an inbounds pass in the far right corner and Harris wasted little time executing the play. She launched a trifecta to perfecta – touching only the bottom of the basket for a 47-37 margin.

"As soon as I shot it," she said, "I knew it was on!"

So was Hawkins, who poured in 16 of her career-best 29 points in the second half. Her previous highs were 28 against Southwestern Christian (Okla) and 27 versus Huston-Tillotson during her sophomore season. She made 9-of-18 shots, three triples, and 8-of-10 fouls shots. She also had six rebounds and three assists. In her previous game, against Southwestern Christian at the Central Regional, the Hawk soared for 24.

Hawkins Inspired Play

In the Red River Athletic Conference heartbreaking loss to Langston University, she had four assists, four rebounds, four steals and 12 points in a last minute loss. Her missed free throw would've tied the game. She has been on fire ever since, making amends by making the most of every opportunity.

She wasn't alone. Jefferson, her senior backcourt mate, was almost her equal through stages of the game. The quick-silver guard had 16 points, swishing 6-of-11 tries, grabbing five rebounds, dishing out four assists and getting credited with a pair of thefts.

Lost in the victory was senior NAIA All-American forward Chelsea Jones (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian). Criticized by the livestream broadcasters for a performance she "wouldn't want anyone to see on tape," she only scored 15, made 6-of-12 shots, two triples, two assists and a game high six steals. All while playing sick. You should see her on a good day!

Jones sank her first three-ball for a 34-24 lead late in the first half. Her second came on a Hawkins assist when she froze the defender with her patented "I'm not even thinking about shooting" look. She then 'dropped it like it was hot' from 20 feet for a 52-39 advantage.

Moments later Jefferson fired a dart to Hawkins on the right wing, and she unloaded a deep blast for another trey and a 55-39 scoreboard bulge (11:39 left).

Down the stretch the Tornado took advantage of a few threes and some highly questionable calls against Southwestern, fueling a free throw aided rally to score seven unanswered points. Jefferson and Jones both countered by picking off passes and zooming from New York to Portland with easy layups and a 60-48 lead (6:20).

Bruner: Back to Basics

Bruner was her fundamental self all day. She made two steals and laid claim to seven boards, all on the defensive end with text-book block-outs. Then, doing the same on another carom, 5'10 Kalen Collins went well over her back in a bid for the ball. The whistle blew, but the official called Bruner for going over Collins back in perhaps the most puzzling call of the night. It was Bruner's fifth.

King trailed 60-52 after Bruner departed (5:49). Once again SAGU nullified the Tornado by going for the jugular with a 14-3 run to put the game away. The defense held King to one basket over a span of 5:30 as the lead swelled to 74-55 with a minute left.

The Tornado hit a pair of threes and made a layup in the final thirty seconds. It was window dressing to minimize a 19-point debt.

Making the Deans List

They were led almost entirely by senior Ashley Deans, who had an impressive showing. She was 8-of-16 from the field. Derika Mooney, their #2 scorer, was held to six points on 1-of-7 shooting. Tharpe, King's three-point ace, netted 10 points. She was just 2-of-10 beyond the arc.

Hankins, who came off the bench to share game-high honors with Deans (25 points) in rebounds (with eight), was tough in the paint all day. She helped SAGU hold a decisive 32-16 edge in points scored in the lane. 'High C,' as she is known to teammates, also had several blocked shots and a pair of steals, including one with three minutes remaining.

Rodriguez tossed in eight points on 3-of-5 shooting and had four boards.

First Half Key Plays

After making two free throws for a 20-12 lead, Hawkins blocked an attempted three on the left wing. Up 22-16 and the shot clock down to three seconds, Jefferson inbounded from the side to Hawkins. The Hawk was well covered but leapt to trigger a 25-footer that ripped the nets to extend the lead to 25-16.

Jefferson knifed inside from the top of the key before Jirah made a circus move. The pride of Georgetown went right, and then spun left across the lane, lifting a high, left-handed scoop shot that kissed the window before dropping the cylinder for a crowd-pleasing deuce (29-18). Hawkins cashed in her own twirling drive when she stroked a fade-away from eight-feet.

Jones detonated a 3-bomb at the two-minute warning, and then Harris made a steal and hit Jefferson in transition to go up 36-24. Speaking of firing a shot, a minute later Jones sparked a bang-bang-bang play. She stole the ball in the backcourt, tipped it to Harris, who quickly gave it back to Jones. She dribbled once towards the paint then zipped a laser to Hawkins who was streaking through the back door for an open bucket (39-26).

The Lions, who shot 58% (14-of-24) in the first half, led at recess, 39-30. They still managed 46% in the second half (11-of-24) to finish at 52%. They were 6-of-14 from long distance. Making just 18-of-26 on the charity stripe wasn't great, but every point made from there was another the Twisters had to make up.

Reliving the Moment

Fans can purchase a DVD of the game as well as select from over 40 action photos, all available for purchase from the Grace College website.

Friday Livestream

The 7pm (6pm Texas time) webcast from Winona Lake is available for fans to view ($6.95 per game). While not produced in high definition and utilizing only one camera, the access is a great opportunity to follow SAGU in their bid to win the NCCAA crown. The pre-game show starts approximately twenty minutes before the schedule game time.

NAIA Tournament Results of Interest

Fellow RRAC members Langston University and Texas Wesleyan University qualified for the 32-team NAIA national tournament field. Langston (2905) opened play on Thursday with a 54-47 win over Vanguard University (Cal) (20-12). LU, the No. 4 seed, will take #1 Campbellsville (Ky) (29-3) on Friday at 8pm. Campbellsville eliminated John Brown (Ark), 76-51. SAGU played the JBU Golden Eagles in their season debut in November.

In RRAC men's games, #6 ranked Texas Wesleyan blew a six point lead with a minute to play, falling to Rogers State (Ok) by 66-64. LSU-Shreveport won big, 106-80, over Life University (Ga).

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Lady Lions fade late, 73-64

Feb 08, 2013 - Women's Basketball News

Sodich and Hill each pour in 19 points SAGU led 43-37 before yielding to HTU Box Score WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s basketba...

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SAGU corrals Mustangs in OT, 78-74

Feb 05, 2013 - Women's Basketball News

Career-high from Bratchett sparks team Lady Lions play at home on Thursday vs HTU WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s basketball team m...

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SAGU edged by Langton, 52-51

SAGU edged by Langton, 52-51

Jan 29, 2013 - Women's Basketball News

Lady Lions battling for berth in RRAC tourney Game saw seven lead changes; Lugo stars in setback Box Score WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  In a game that featured seven lead changes...

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Lady Lions win, 77-68, score 18 in a row

Lady Lions win, 77-68, score 18 in a row

Jan 28, 2013 - Women's Basketball News

SAGU storms past Bacone, move into 8th Krock, Hankins, Harvatin, Lugo join Hill with solid play WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Trailing by six points late in the first half (24-18), th...

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Lady Lions end skid, top Horns, 73-63

Lady Lions end skid, top Horns, 73-63

Jan 22, 2013 - Women's Basketball News

SAGU dominates boards, force 34 turnovers Hill, Sodich, Krock, Lugo shine in big road win Box Score TYLER, Texas  --  Snapping a string nine consecutive losses, the Southwe...

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Turnovers, Love overcomes Lady Lions

Turnovers, Love overcomes Lady Lions

Jan 20, 2013 - Women's Basketball News

Jarvis tops SAGU, 66-46 Krock, Cox lead reserves in solid outing Official Box Score HAWKINS, Texas  --  Southwestern Assemblies of God University built a six-point first ha...

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Lady Lions comeback comes up short

Lady Lions comeback comes up short

Jan 15, 2013 - Women's Basketball News

Down 25, SAGU draws to within 62-58 Five-game road trip has three remaining Box Score CEDAR HILL, Texas  --  Southwestern Assemblies of God University's women's basketball ...

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Lady Lions show growl in setback

Lady Lions show growl in setback

Jan 11, 2013 - Women's Basketball News

No. 24 OLLU tops SAGU, 84-64 Lugo leads strong effort in her hometown Box Score SAN ANTONIO, Texas  --  Despite a solid performance on the boards, the Southwestern Assembli...

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Lady Lions face ranked OLLU

Lady Lions face ranked OLLU

Jan 09, 2013 - Women's Basketball News

Follow game on live video or LiveStats Slowing down nation's top scoring team a challenge SAN ANTONIO, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s basketba...

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Cold spell costly to Lady Lions

Cold spell costly to Lady Lions

Jan 05, 2013 - Women's Basketball News

St. Thomas rides 41-20 halftime lead to victory Hill leads SAGU with 21; Cox has 16 rebounds Box Score WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University ...

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Lady Lions head into 2013

Lady Lions head into 2013

Dec 31, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Basketball season resumes Saturday at home Team's new identity reveals a balanced attack WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s baske...

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Lady Lions fall in Ft. Worth, 63-41

Lady Lions fall in Ft. Worth, 63-41

Dec 18, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Wesleyan defense stymies SAGU offense Next Game: Jan. 5 at home vs. St. Thomas Click here for Box Score FORT WORTH, Texas  --  The women’s basketball team from Southwe...

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Trifectas too much for SAGU

Trifectas too much for SAGU

Dec 16, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Hankins scores career-high 29 Lady Lions succumb to 15 three-pointers HOBBS, New Mexico  --  The women’s basketball team from Southwestern Assemblies of God University outshot ...

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Women's head basketball coach earns 100th SAGU career win

Women's head basketball coach earns 100th SAGU career win

Dec 14, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Waxahachie, Texas — December 14, 2012 — Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) Women's Head Basketball Coach Arlon Beadles achieved his 100th SAGU win on Tuesday, November 27, 2012, as...

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Lady Lions sink in 58-47 loss

Lady Lions sink in 58-47 loss

Dec 14, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

SAGU outlasted by #17 LSU-S Solid defensive effort undone by turnovers Click here for Box Score WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  A talented LSU-Shreveport women’s basketball tea...

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SAGU hoopsters ring in the holidays

SAGU hoopsters ring in the holidays

Dec 13, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Players team-up with the Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive a worthy service project WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  On the court they receive an assist for serving others. In the communit...

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Lady Lions get stuck in the muddle

Lady Lions get stuck in the muddle

Dec 11, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

SAGU comes up short to Langston, 62-46 Hill, Harvatin, Sodich combine for 35 points Click here for Box Score LANGSTON, Oklahoma  --  Monday night’s women’s college basketba...

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Hot starting Bacone rolls by Lady Lions

Hot starting Bacone rolls by Lady Lions

Dec 09, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Hill pours in 20-points in losing cause SAGU plays at Langston on Monday Click here for Box Score MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University wome...

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Saturday night hoops; SAGU at Bacone

Saturday night hoops; SAGU at Bacone

Dec 08, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Follow the game on Live Stats SAGU is at Langston on Monday MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s and women’s basketball teams are in Okla...

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Lady Lions hold off Texas College

Lady Lions hold off Texas College

Dec 04, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

79-76 win offsets loss of Winston Freshman Hill thrills crowd, Hankins saves day WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  “There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets th...

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Love too much for Lions to handle

Love too much for Lions to handle

Dec 02, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Jarvis guard erupts for 42 points SAGU drops 72-55 decision, host TxC on Monday Click here for Box Score (Photo Gallery listed below) WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Pro...

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SAGU hosts Saturday afternoon games

SAGU hosts Saturday afternoon games

Dec 01, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Lady Lions at 2:00pm, Lions at 4:00pm Jarvis Christian College visits for RRAC twinbill WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Southwestern Assemblies of God University will play host to ...

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Last second free throw costs SAGU

Last second free throw costs SAGU

Nov 30, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Lady Lions drop 56-55 decision to Tillotson Cox, Harvatin, Winston reach double-figures Click here for Box Score AUSTIN, Texas  --  An accidental foul in the backcourt sent...

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Lady Lions breeze to 79-39 triumph

Lady Lions breeze to 79-39 triumph

Nov 28, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Coach Beadles Wins 200th Winston, Bratchett lead 12 Lady Lion scorers FARMERS BRANCH, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s basketball team went full...

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Lady Lions overcome cold start, roll 72-52

Lady Lions overcome cold start, roll 72-52

Nov 26, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Team recovers from 13-point deficit Coach Beadles now one win shy of 200 Click here for Box Score WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  It was far from pretty, but the end product wa...

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Second half dooms Lady Lions

Second half dooms Lady Lions

Nov 12, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Wayland Baptist breaks open close game SAGU comes up short in 64-43 setback WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The best half of basketball to date by Southwestern Assemblies of God Univ...

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Solid start and finish sparks Lady Lions

Solid start and finish sparks Lady Lions

Nov 12, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

SAGU wins opener, 80-68, over DCC Winston, Bratchett lead five in double-figures WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Some things increase in their value once they have been lost. Like th...

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Q & A with Arlon Beadles

Q & A with Arlon Beadles

Nov 09, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Head Coach Assesses the Lady Lions Optimism reigns; home games Fri/Sat PM WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  His eyes filled with insights and the richness of know-how, Southwestern A...

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SAGU Classic slated for Friday, Saturday

SAGU Classic slated for Friday, Saturday

Nov 09, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Women's college hoops takes over campus Lady Lions play at 7:30pm on both nights WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The women’s basketball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God Univers...

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Cold second half cages Lady Lions

Cold second half cages Lady Lions

Nov 04, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Team drops to 0-2 after weekend tourney Lady Lions host SAGU Classic, Nov. 9-10  BETHANY, Oklahoma  --  A solid first half was not enough for the women’s basketball t...

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Drovers lasso Lady Lions

Drovers lasso Lady Lions

Nov 04, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

USAO tops SAGU in season opener Winston, Hankins, Hill score in double-figures BETHANY, Oklahoma  --  Despite controlling the boards in convincing fashion, the Southwestern Ass...

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SAGU drops opener, 84-64, in OKC

SAGU drops opener, 84-64, in OKC

Nov 03, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

BETHANY, Oklahoma  --  Despite controlling the boards in convincing fashion, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University women's basketball team finished on the wrong side of an 84-6...

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Lady Lions hoopsters picked 6th

Lady Lions hoopsters picked 6th

Oct 31, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

SAGU to open new season this weekend Pre-Season Coaches Poll ranks all 12 RRAC teams WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Following a rebuilding season last winter, the Southwestern Assembli...

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Lady Lions take on Alumni All-Stars

Lady Lions take on Alumni All-Stars

Oct 11, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

A Breakfast of Hoops and Fruit Loops  Chelsea Jones and Company return to the court WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Fans of women’s college basketball with get a preview look at th...

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Women's hoops names new Assistant Coach

Women's hoops names new Assistant Coach

Aug 09, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Kory Henry returns to Lady Lions Veteran coach to focus on SAGU defense WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The women’s basketball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University have ann...

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Lady Lions announce 30-game schedule

Lady Lions announce 30-game schedule

Jul 02, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

SAGU tips off season in Oklahoma Coach Beadles leads retooled 2012-13 team WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University has released the schedule of the women’s basketb...

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Lady Lions banking on Tanks

Lady Lions banking on Tanks

Jun 29, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

San Antonio pipeline sends 'Shooter'  Smithson Valley's Shaina Tanks signs WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Forgive women’s basketball coach Arlon Beadles for smiling. He just completed the rec...

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Dual-sport winger to play hoops

Dual-sport winger to play hoops

Jun 28, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Jessica Sodich to play basketball Recruiting class adds second guard WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The women’s basketball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University has announc...

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Roberts named All-American

Roberts named All-American

Apr 23, 2012 - Women's Basketball News

Roberts leads NAIA in blocked shots Bruner, Winston recognized for their efforts as well   WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Prior to the Southwestern Assemblies of God University sports banque...

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